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John Mauldin

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John Mauldin is a renowned financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, and a pioneering online commentator. Each week, over 1 million readers turn to Mauldin for his penetrating view on Wall Street, global markets, and economic history.

October 25th, 2020 | The Green Shoots of 2020

Thoughts from the Front Line - Those who lived through the last financial crisis might may recall the Green Shoots episode. It drew laughs on March 15, 2009, shortly after the Federal Reserve fired its heaviest artillery and, we now know, launched the longest bull market in history. Appearing on 60 Minutes, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said the recession’s end was […]

October 18th, 2020 | Caught in a Debt Trap

Thoughts from the Front Line - We’re caught in a trap I can’t walk out Because I love you too much baby Elvis Presley’s rendition of Suspicious Minds topped the record charts in 1969. The lyrics portray a romance that couldn’t work, but was also impossible to escape. That’s also a good way to describe our relationship with government debt. We […]

October 11th, 2020 | Timeline to the New Normal

Thoughts from the Front Line - Like everyone else, I am weary of this pandemic mess. I want to travel freely, enjoy dinner with friends, hug, and shake hands. And, of course, I want everyone who lost jobs and businesses to get them back. I wasn’t thrilled with the economy a year ago, but I’d take it again in a heartbeat. […]

October 4th, 2020 | Debt Bugs and Windshields

Thoughts from the Front Line - “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion.” —Ludwig von Mises Economic recovery is coming, we are told, because the economy has found a new equilibrium. We are supposedly adapting to the new-normal pandemic world, with monetary and (some) fiscal stimulus filling any gaps. Except that’s […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Amid all 2020’s new problems, it’s easy to overlook the old ones. Yet they are still there and, like a silently spreading virus, silently getting worse. One such problem is debt, and specifically government debt. All debt shares one common characteristic. A bill comes due at some point and, if the borrower doesn’t pay, the […]

September 20th, 2020 | Stall Speed Economy

Thoughts from the Front Line - When Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown in 1781, tradition has it that the British band played an old English children’s folk tune, “The World Turned Upside Down.” Painting by John Trumbull If buttercups buzz’d after the bee, If boats were on land, churches on sea, If ponies rode men and if grass ate […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Simply discussing COVID-19 will undoubtedly make this letter controversial and, in some circles, political. That is not my intent. I truly believe that something affecting all of us so deeply should be kept in the scientific realm to the extent possible, not the political. Sadly, that is not the case today in many countries. My […]

September 6th, 2020 | Inflation Virus Strikes Fed

Thoughts from the Front Line - One little-noted aspect of central bank policy is how rarely “policy” happens. Officials at the Federal Reserve and elsewhere long ago learned how to achieve their goals without actually doing anything. Creating perceptions is often enough to modify people’s behavior. For instance, if traders simply believe the Fed will intervene should interest rates go above […]

August 30th, 2020 | Light in the COVID Tunnel

Thoughts from the Front Line - If you ever think you just can’t win, I know how you feel. I’m labeled both a doomsayer and a Pollyanna—sometimes in reaction to the same letter. In fact, I am neither. I used to be the “muddle-through” guy who acknowledged difficulty but expected eventual success. Recently I modified that to “stumble-through,” acknowledging today’s more […]

August 23rd, 2020 | Business on the Frontline

Thoughts from the Front Line - I write this introduction from an all-too-short vacation in Montana (more below). This week I have asked my longtime associate Patrick Watson to step in and write Thoughts from the Frontline, offering his perspective as a small business owner. As you read this, realize his story is being played out hundreds of thousands of times […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.” —Harry S. Truman, 33rd US President In recent weeks, numerous commentators started to suggest the US and the world are entering a depression. For some areas of the economy, that is clearly true. But not every area. Today we […]

August 9th, 2020 | Yellow Flag Jobs Data

Thoughts from the Front Line - As I file this letter Friday morning, people are reacting to the July jobs report. My own reaction: The headline report is absurd. I will explain further at the end of this letter. But first, I have another topic. Regular readers know I worry about debt, mainly that the world has too much of it. […]

August 2nd, 2020 | European Resurgence

Thoughts from the Front Line - One of COVID-19’s many less-than-obvious consequences is the way it makes us look inward. Facing mortality has always done that, of course. West Texas Judge Roy Bean reportedly said, “Nothing focuses the mind like a good hanging.” For the vulnerable and those of us of a certain age (ahem), this virus goes beyond the normal […]

July 26th, 2020 | Valuation Inflation

Thoughts from the Front Line - In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.” —Benjamin Graham You may have noticed a bit of manic activity in the stock market. You may have also noticed inflation (as measured by various government agencies) is quite low, despite a supply interruption in […]

July 19th, 2020 | Small Business Blues

Thoughts from the Front Line - Politicians love saying small businesses are important to the economy. In this case, it isn’t just rhetoric. The millions of little companies with a handful of workers are, collectively, more important than the few hundred large enterprises we see in the news. That’s one reason the corona crisis has been so economically devastating. It hit […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Work has always been a fact of life. Paycheck-producing jobs are actually a recent development. Until the Industrial Revolution, most people lived on subsistence agriculture, sustaining themselves with whatever they could produce or working as slaves/serfs. The practice of producing something you wouldn’t personally use had been around but reached a new stage with the […]

July 5th, 2020 | The Blacker Swan

Thoughts from the Front Line - “A similar effect is taking place in economic life. I spoke about globalization in Chapter 3; it is here, but it is not all for the good: it creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability. In other words, it creates devastating Black Swans. We have never lived before under the […]

June 28th, 2020 | A Recession Like No Other

Thoughts from the Front Line - We just spent the better part of a decade wondering when the next recession would strike. The last two months we stopped wondering. It’s here and a grand council of esteemed economists has confirmed it. On June 8, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research found monthly economic activity had […]

June 21st, 2020 | Where We Go from Here

Thoughts from the Front Line - Predictions are difficult, especially those about the future. That old proverb (often attributed to Yogi Berra) is right but you can’t live without making certain presumptions. You presume your car will start, your refrigerator will stay cold, the lights will turn on when you flip the switch. In fact, you could argue this “predictability” separates […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - We are on the horns of a dilemma, caught between the Scylla and Charybdis, a rock and a hard place, the devil and the deep blue sea, the anvil and the hammer. The walls are closing in. We’re in a tight spot. All those metaphors (I could list more but will spare you) fit the […]

Thoughts from the Front Line - Should you wear a mask in public? This seemingly simple question immediately generates emotional, political, and social anxiety. It is just one of many provocative questions COVID-19 is forcing upon us. They should be simple, data-driven policy issues but many are not. Today’s letter is in a different format from the usual Thoughts from the […]

May 31st, 2020 | Economics in Orbit

Thoughts from the Front Line -   The history of humanity, at least as taught in most schools, is really about two seemingly opposite forces: human innovation and human conflict. The same intelligence that lets us accomplish great things also sets us against each other. But sometimes, we rise above it. Last week I saw on Twitter (where you should follow […]

May 24th, 2020 | Rewinding the Tape

Thoughts from the Front Line - We finished the Virtual Strategic Investment Conference yesterday. I can honestly say it was simply the best conference I have ever attended or been privileged to host. The ability to bring together so many exciting speakers, something schedules would not have allowed if we were holding a physical conference, offered a constant stream of thought-provoking, […]

May 17th, 2020 | Reflection Week

Thoughts from the Front Line - I knew this letter’s topic months ago. It was going to be a review of the Strategic Investment Conference, which would have just concluded fabulously in sunny Scottsdale. Well, something intervened. Coronavirus precautions kept us from having an in-person conference. No one was more disappointed than me. I often say SIC is the highlight of […]

May 10th, 2020 | Five Viral Lessons

Thoughts from the Front Line - We live in truly historic times. “There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen,” says a quote usually attributed to Vladimir Lenin. It certainly fits now. For thousands of years, people who lived through what we call “history” didn’t realize it. We are the exceptions. We’re seeing history and we know it. […]
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